Life by Keith Richards (2010)
Richards tells his life story in stream of consciousness style while regretting nothing and spilling just the right amount of dirt on his band mates and other celebs. Given everything (the drugs, the women, the road) his journey is summed up by a man who possesses a surprising level of introspection.
Girl Singer by Rosemary Clooney (2001)
Girl Singer is the epitome of bittersweet. It constantly wavers between cliffs and valleys; the highs of singing, freedom and love and the lows of drugs, alcohol and the bondage of a troubled marriage. Besides offering the reader a first class ticket into her career and love affairs, Clooney presents us with a cultural artifact into 1950s and 60s music and culture. A great juxtaposition to Richards’ Life, Clooney describes the penultimate period where big bands and girl singers ruled and Rock and Roll was just on the horizon.
Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir by Cyndi Lauper and Jaycee Dunn (2012)
Often times, reminisces of Cyndi Lauper conjure 1980s imagery of neon colors, spiky hair and of course, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Because of this, her memoirs couldn’t have waited any longer to show the world just who this woman is, and especially what she has done.
We all know that Lauper is a musician and artist, but when we hear that she is an activist, what that means is that she was one of the first advocates for gay rights, women’s equality, and a true trailblazer for HIV/AIDS awareness, especially at a time when it was shrouded by the highest amount of fear and taboo. Lauper’s memoir is an essential reading for anyone who needs a boost of self-confidence and a reminder to keep their chin up when they’re wading through the muck of life.
Jacob’s Folly by Rebecca Miller (2013)
A Hasidic Jew, born in the 1700s, is reincarnated as a fly in current day. The story see-saws from his current day observations and his life in 18th century Paris. Miller, who has in the past done a magnificent job of writing and directing from a varied female perspective, takes a stab this time at writing from the male perspective. Her observations from the masculine gender’s point of view are entertaining, tawdry, and scintillating, thereby ever-changing your feelings towards the narrator.
The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-life Dr. Frankenstein and the Creation of Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece by Roseanne Montillo (2013)
Author Roseanne Montillo describes the social thought and study leading up to the creation of Mary Shelley’s infamous story, Frankenstein. To do this, Montillo details the very real history of grave digging for medical experimentation and the use of electricity as a possible re-animator of human life, both of which permeated both scholarly and pub conversations for hundreds of years. She interweaves this history with Shelley’s feminist roots, being the daughter of women’s rights advocate Mary Wollstonecraft, and the subsequent publishing of the novel under an anonymous name due to the bias against female authors.
The conglomeration of the history of the human body, reanimation, electricity, and feminism are in itself a Frankenstein, being hobbled together to create the text that resulted in Frankenstein the story.
[Listed in order by first to last book read]